In 2010, for the better part of a month, one straight journalist pretended to be the boyfriend of a gay man who acted as a “honeypot” and entrapped actual gay priests in various sexual situations.
(The cardinal vicar of Rome was given the task of investigating.
He looked like a priest with whom I’d corresponded after mutual friends put us in touch, a man I had wanted to consult about gay clerics in the Vatican Curia.
My friends told me that this priest was gay, politically savvy, and well connected to the gay Church hierarchy in Rome. He had told me that he’d be away and couldn’t meet. Yes, his plans had changed, he said, but he was leaving again the next day and would return only after I was gone.
A third way, perhaps the least common but certainly the most visible, involves living a double life.
Occasionally such clerics are unmasked, usually by stories in the Italian press.
Cozzens in his well-regarded For gay clerics at the Vatican, one fundamental condition of their power, and of their priesthood, is silence, at least in public, about who they really are. A few keep their sexuality entirely private and adhere to the vow of celibacy.
I had not met this man before, but as I entered the sauna, I thought I recognized him from photographs.The priests’ fates are unknown.)There are at least a few gay cardinals, including one whose long-term partner is a well-known minister in a Protestant denomination.There is the notorious monsignor nicknamed “Jessica,” who likes to visit a pontifical university and pass out his business card to 25-year-old novices.Months later, another leak of confidential information brought the subject of a gay lobby back into the news.Someone took notes during what was meant to be a private meeting between Latin-American Church leaders and the new Pope, the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, now known as Francis.